The BAC Mono has changed a lot for 2021, but you have to look closely
I come up to Liverpool today because there is a brand new BAC Milan.
Now if any trouble is that to the casual observer But it looks pretty much identical to the original one.
What's more, it's gone turbocharged, which sort of seems anathema to this sort of lightweight, focused sports car.
So, to get some answers, I'm going to talk to the design director of BBC moto in Briggs.
On half of Briggs automotive company.
And thank you very much for talking us around luxury cars specifically this car but we thought it was nice to have the original car here just as a sort of point of reference.
Yes, we got along as well so we don't get any jokes about Nothing's changed.
[LAUGH] we're lazy designers.
Let's start because your design, let's talk about the front of the car first.
And the different looks and why, why it's done and what you've changed what it's all about.
I mean being open and honest as design director, of course.
10 years after we designed the original car, we want to improve the look, we want to make it more.
speak more of the current age, design aesthetic.
But at BAC everything we do, and I think Neil and I's relationship is such that I would never want to do something from a design point of view that would make the car Less of the car that it is.
So we wanted to clean up the front, we wanted to reduce frontal area.
We wanted to reduce drag.
As you know, lightweight sports cars ultimately have to have to fight against the wind at high speed like any car does.
And it's doing it with less power than than some of the big supercars and so we wanted to have a low drag, so We started off by looking actually we started off looking at the regulations because as you see on the original monitor, one of the first things you see is just the number of lights and we were using lights that were essentially off the shelf, and it creates a lot of frontal area.
The other thing of course is you know, mass won't put mass in the middle.
Had a bit of a eureka moment as we were, as we were looking at the regulations, there's actually no positional requirement for your main beam lights.
So that coupled with the fact that go until Amanda's, you know, in the 90s and see the GT car to the lights.
So I could say I'm not going to pretend everything's just about function.
It's got it.
It's got to be cool as well, but.
But what that did was it put the weight of those lights lower, more in the center and it took them out of what is essentially the frontal area of the car because one of the things I've always loved about a single seat is if you imagine a driver is reclined as he can be, he has a silhouette and the great thing about a single seaters, the fuel tanks behind that silhouette.
There are some components ahead of us, then got the engine and the gearbox everything is within that front area.
The least we could ever have would be a person and fore wheels so that they can put the light in front of the wheel or at the layer behind the wheel, and if can out component in front of that driver still around or behind it then that leave, so that's where it kinda started.
So ended up with this new front which is of So you're working down through the car let's let's talk about the other major change from a sort of, you know, from a headline perspective, which is the fact you've on turbo.
That's something that's most manufacturers have had to go that way.
Being open honest enables us to sell a car into markets where we didn't currently currently or in the past meet the emissions regulations.
But having said that, it's effectively took us to another level now.
I mean, now we're at the point where we've got 25 horsepower more than the original, or the current car, the 305 horsepower car, and we're at the start of a Journey, power wise it could take us a lot further.
So as long as we and we've put in paying a lot of attention to it as long as we get the right kind of power delivery characteristics, we're confident that it'll still drive and feel like Amano.
It will meet the regulations and therefore be available to people who is not available to at the moment.
And ultimately we can go quicker in the future.
So the engine in terms of figures, it's obviously still with matching.
Now is that right,
2.3 liters, four cylinders.
What are the headline figures in terms of power and torque now.
It's 330 horsepower.
It's just over 400 newton meters of torque.
There is a lot of work in the mapping that the way that 400 Newton meters is delivered.
You don't get all of it in first gear right from the very beginning.
So it does drive and feel more like a normal aspirated car.
And one of the things I've certainly noticed is that as the mapping gives you more and more as the tires are able to take more It feels almost like a two stroke go kart in that it just feels like it's running away with you.
It's pushing harder and harder with each new gear.
It's a good feeling.
Specialist Components make our ECU, Simtek make our body control units and do all of our electronics.
And between them and Mount Tune, working as a team with ourselves.
The whole way the car delivers its power the whole way the traction control would work, for example, where the information is displayed on the screen.
That's, that whole team of companies that all work together to deliver that.
Here's the crucial ticket with a lightweight car.
And we like to now despite the fact that we've got into coolers and turbos and all the rest of it.
I'll explain how we've managed to do that in a bit but.
Yeah cuz that's that is the obviously turbocharging drivability is one thing in terms of competitor naturally aspirated engine but weight is obviously the other big negative.
So how have you made it a weight reposition it as well I know that's been key.
It's not as massive a negative as you would think.
Actually it's not it's not too bad.
But we have been able to offset the weight gains of, of the place in the car, the graphene body, the wheels, which I think we'll come to.
We're very proud of them.
And with the work we've done with Autodesk, our partner on those.
And we've just gone through the whole car.
One of the things that I admire the companies who produce cars that have many different functions because it must be really hard to decide or make it more for for Henry or more families golf.
You don't I mean, where do I where do we go worse with a single seater?
There's absolutely one clear aim and it's all about get the mask.
Down and to the center and reduce it, you know, and everything we do is about that it's a really clear goal.
Does it make it lighter?
Can we put a different bolt in there?
Can we have a sinner washer, what can we do?
And it's it's great to have that just a really clear goal.
And so that's what we've done.
We've gone through the whole car I don't wanna get too nerdy with you, but-
I mean things like floor stays, for example.
I mean, in the past we had an adjustment at both ends.
Well actually, we don't need an adjustment at both ends.
We can only do the adjustment at one end.
And so we've saved one little tiny rose join, and one extra fixing.
And we've kept that fixing out of the wind now.
So we've reduced the drag We've simplified the component we've made it a little bit lighter cost a little bit less.
It's a win win and that's what I love about the single seat.
And this formula, or this concept of car that it's a goal is absolutely clear.>> Yeah, it does become the aggregation of marginal gains, isn't it?
When you're starting.
Let's face it at a pretty extraordinary place in first place to then get this better.
Let's talk about, you mentioned the body before and the graphene and fuse.
Just talk us through a bit of that.
So, graphene originally discovered by Manchester University, the guys there got a Nobel Prize for it.
It's the strongest material known to man.
And when added to various materials, it can enhance their properties.
The strength of the carbon fiber panel and its toughness are both improved and increased.
What that means is we can take some carbon outs and get back to where we were And so I think on the whole body set we've saved about nine kilograms, which is a lot we're I think we're about
There's not a lot of body
weight about 40 kilograms on the body set now, which is 44 carbon panels, total of 40 kilos.
So, ya know, it's like I say it's marginal gains for They all add up, they all add up.
Then there's a lot of 3D printing.
Yeah, this car is more than the walls.
This is something that has developed since the original.
I think it was a little bit.
Same with the front lights.
It was a bit of an aha moment for me because as a designer, I'd always known 3D printing as rapid prototyping.
And in a way it kind of you only ever thought about it as being something to make a mock up in the design studio.
Whereas we met our partner DSM.
They introduced us to all these new different materials as you can do, you can print carbon fibre filled plastics now for example, which is a mirror arm.
That's that's, that's that.
And that's a production solution, that's not a markup for a shell.>> Yes.>> That's exactly how we made them.
You can see from this design it'd be a very complicated part to making any of the way actually.
As a small company with a product that are high price point.
We can afford a higher piece price in exchange for no tooling.
But it's not just that, it also allows us to do things that you just couldn't tool.
You know, you couldn't make that or you couldn't make it without making it in multiple parts.
Because you explained it before.
So, someone like VW, obviously, a bracket for them.
They needed to cost five pounds.
And they don't mind spending 15,000 in a little, you know, injection forming tool that will that will deliver that.
And I think that's also the reason why the original model we had 400 billet parts in the original model, and it's the same argument.
The big guys can't afford to spend hundreds of pounds on a shear plate.
We can cuz we haven't spent, hundreds of thousands on press tools, and so what's great is it gives the customer a better part, And it gives us ultimate flexibility.
The wheel's a great example.
We tooled the carbon fiber rim.
I mean the way a tire mounts to a rim's not gonna change any time soon, so that's locked in.
But the center, which is a forged and then bullet machined aluminum center, You could conceivably make out of any material you could make out of all that element Liam's titanium, any other material, you can change the design, just aesthetically if you want, or as we've done in this case, we've, we've reduced its weight.
We've introduced a new method of manufacturing and made big weight gains.
Yeah, so let's Overall current income, right and saying is 10 kilos, lighter 570 kilos Dempsey, but some of the big gains, we're talking about the wheels there.
We've got them here for a reason.
Because obviously if you can save weight in terms of unsprung and rotational mass that's sort of its gains or gains on gains, particularly for Karla.
I mean, I think it's fair to say that the best place to save the weights on the car is the tire.
Because it's the furthest away from the center at it, and it's all those things you just mentioned.
And then it's the rim, and then it's the wheel and it's the disk.
And so it goes on.
And again, it's just clear it clear where you should focus and that's, that's the great thing about it.
So let's talk about gas diesel shops.
So what we've got here is effectively the sort of progression through this is the original wheel such-
obviously in the past FA analysis would would look at the forces in the wheel, an engineer would look at the areas of high stress, low stress, and he would make changes and and optimize it with Autodesk our partner they've developed with fusion 360.
It's generative design.
So essentially The algorithm is doing that thousands, and thousands of times and it can output as many versions as you would like you can put in the material you can put in the manufacturing methods.
So this this one was made with a three axis milling machine which does limit a little bit where you can have access to.
This one is the version we've used on the new mono is 1.2 kilograms of saved.
And ultimately just for reference, you can take a look at that.
That's where it could go to ultimately that could take the same forces that's been calculated all the same loads, or just all the redundant material has been taken away.
Of course when it gets to that level You have to be looking at printing?
Which then adds complication and costs.
It will come as everything as the costs come down.
But that's ultimately where
I'm looking to the future here.>> Absolutely.
I think so too.
And I think also from a design point of view, you can't just put that on a car.
Well, every component wasn't designed that way.
I think eventually You know, you arrive we'll get used to that aesthetic.
We've seen it in nature of course.
It's an it's an incredibly organic sort of look, isn't it?
But even if comparing, so this is obviously then you come back, sort of you come back a stage is it which is which is exactly in a way that's more feasible as it were as extraordinary as there's obviously an engineering Benefit to this you taking out material but it's also more beautiful, isn't it from from a design perspective deserve.
I thought so too.
It's just, I mean that that's something with the aesthetic of mano.
We've always wanted it to look like this glossy body pull tight over the machine.
In the same way as an athlete looks that that shape that shaped by nature, that athletic form And effectively that's what we've now got here.
As we've gone from three axis machining to five axis machining, and using the the generative design algorithms, it's enabled us to see where we can remove material and you absolutely right, you end up with that even more athletic, more slender, more optimized form which our eyes recognize from nature we've seen we see everywhere in nature.
And then obviously the final product is this which is phenomenally light.
And what is the overall weight for a 4.7 4.7?
I mean when you when you when you pick it up like that and pass it to someone, they know straightaway that it's not gonna be happy.
No, I'd say.
And then behind here, we have actually got Brake caliper, which is obviously AP racing so.
It's AC racing can't take any credit for that.
But it's the same type of process has been used to optimize that design.
And compared to the same caliper from AP that we chose years ago for the original model, that's 300 grams.
So, you know, that's 1.5 kilograms per corner.
That's, that's holy grail.
Absolutely, [LAUGH] and then let's just talk about the back of the car as well in terms of the packaging.
Because again everything has just been trimmed down, I suppose.
And it's one of the things, I remember seeing a Mono for the first time, and I think It's sometimes difficult to get across to people sort of where the money goes, I suppose it transcends, I think single seater and is that sort of, but all the engineering is so clearly on display back here and a beautiful thing to look at.
If you like engineering which most car people should do, don't do, and it's So yeah
I think that was very instrumental in a lot of the decisions that were made the longitudinal engine, Formula car gearbox, through our partners fuel and it gives you such an optimized form here if we'd have taken a transverse engine and gearbox from a front wheel drive car and put it there, not to criticize, those companies doing that operate in a different price point but, but that's where the cost is.
You know that, doing it that way is not the expensive way of doing and it has a knock on effect to lots of other things.
But of course it has positive knock on effects as well.
We get much better economics we get much better white balance.
We get a much lower center of gravity.
It pays us back all the time, but it's not the least expensive way of doing it not sure.
In terms of design you were saying before, the lights have been Taking again everything is trying to get get it out in this space.
So the original model had its fog and reverse which we need by law, but we've now managed them both one above the other in a single unit on the center line.
We've managed to take the rear lights and put them into the silhouette of the rear wheels.
We've managed to do the same with the reflectors, so
When you look from the rear of the car now, the wheels have become slightly bigger and the visual elements required by law have all necessarily become slightly less prominent.
And I think the overall effect that makes the rear look more open but it also makes the rear looks strong.
What's also changed at the rear is the, and the front actually, is the
The wishbones so we've got a narrower profile.
It's it's a longer cord or a bit less height.
So again, less drag.
That also increases strength for us as well.
The cars now got slicks We have race tires, which are available, developed with Pirelli specifically for Mono, for the first time ever.
These Trofeo Rs?
These are the Trofeo Rs.
And these, again, developed specifically for this?
I don't know how much you know about the road regulations, but they're getting really strict on rolling resistance.
And it's very hard to make a tie.
Obviously, it's diametrically opposed.
It will stick here is the harder is to roll.
And so Pirelli recognized this as a challenge amongst all of our high performance tires, and especially on such a lightweight vehicle, so they went really deep into the construction and the compound of tire that they would meet the regulations in a straight line.
But the moment you start leaning on it, you switch the rubber on the carcass starts to move.
And then the whole thing becomes soft and stuff to work.
And it's been a revelation I have to say.
I see the lovely aliens dampers in there, of course, and we'll get stronger at some point and find out what your terms of suspension was.
The only thing I can say is obviously, just this is subtle, but instead of sit.
Slightly inside DM
That's all it is, all of this area exactly what we've done is we've managed to lower the bodywork without changing the structure.
We've also narrow this area behind the driver's head.
And if you see from the original car, there's lots of layers and there was lots of frontal area that was built.
You know, to the left and right to the driver's head and we've now moved this area forward and closer.
So all these surfaces in here are effectively an offset of a helmet.
So in kinda took a helmet and we've just offset it and we've tried to bring all those surfaces, the equal distance to his helmet, which is whatever we considered to be the amount of space he would need.
We've done something with the headrest as well.
Gives us a bit more flexibility.
What we tried to do is when we mold the seat to the driver, we cuz different helmets have different thicknesses.
Obviously different guys sit in slightly different positions but helmet like the Steelers are much thicker helmet for example in an MRI.
And so this allows us now way we fixed this with a lot we can adjust that much easier at the build stage for the customer.
And what's around here as well.
And obviously, I can't see it from here.
But if I look over there, I can obviously see the intake that is new on that side.
If you recall back to Manoa that was the controversial formula three style air box.
We had lots of suggestions about doing it on both sides and things like that, but.
Joking aside now, obviously we don't need the ram air effect that we wanted for the normal aspirated engine.
So it's a much lower intake, we've gone to a panel filter, but given the challenges of the turbo engine, as you know you at some point, you have to cross the engine on a four cylinder you've got to get to the opposite side.
And we've managed to put the panel filter right next to the engine We go into this side across the front of the engine and straight into the turbo at the same height as the turbo so that's really clean.
We come out the top of the turbo straight into the top of the intercooler so that's a really short way.
Then out the bottom of the intercooler we go directly under the engine and with our partner mount to the dry sump is actually got a small resection in it So it can come directly under the engine and straight off into the inlet.
I can't imagine a shorter route.
I mean, given that you have to cross the car.
So we're really really pleased with that.
It keeps it light and it also affects how the car drives, which is a positive reducing any kind of turbo lag.
Which is such a lightweight car.
It isn't resistant to getting going anyway, so it doesn't suffer in the same way a two to one car would well you've got that energy.
So all those things combined the short induction route, the lightweight, and then the mapping we've done with our partners that drives like a monitor.
I hope you found all that as fascinating as I did.
The price for all of this, all 570 kilos of it is 165,000 With 950 pounds which is well let's face it junior supercar money.
It's a lot for single seater.
But then it's has let's face it senior supercar performance as we know from the original.
And I think that it is a thing.
Of real beauty, something that has been crafted, engineered, something that's beautiful to look at in a way that, well, super cars and hyper cars, just sort of the [INAUDIBLE] things of this world really are, which obviously costs a whole lot more.
When you know what is beneath the skin of it, I think it seems, Actually, remarkably good value and obviously completely different.
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